Malawi President Peter Mutharika has said that ancient approaches towards education are some of the factors that have been retarding impact of education on development in Malawi and Africa at large.
Mutharika said this when he spoke to students at Oxford University in the United Kingdom (UK) on Friday.
In his remarks, Mutharika said education in the country has been focusing on less important issues that cannot help to develop the country in various aspects.
“For a long time, every student who went to school in Malawi was supposed to know who discovered Congo River or Lake Malawi. This is the kind of education colonialism left and was adopted for a long time.
“In other instances, one was supposed to be able to dissect an insect and label its parts. In the process, you would qualify a person and certify them as educated. But what is the use of such education?
“We need an education system that empowers the majority of the people beyond the classroom. We need to take education to the community,” Mutharika said.
He told the intellectuals at the renowned university that Africa is not poor but Africans lack skills and education that can make transformations when applied in everyday life.
“First, we need an education that goes beyond the classroom. We need an education whose objective is not simply to qualify and certify individuals. It must be an education that aims at building capabilities in the people. We must aim at empowering people with the skills. We must remember that Africa is not a poor continent, although its people are poor,” Mutharika told the intellectuals.
“We have the resources but what we lack are the skills for turning our assets into capital. That is the knowledge and skills that we need.”
Some university students and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the country criticized Mutharika’s move to address Oxford University while Chancellor College has been closed for six months.